Hands on: Google Assistant's new 'smart displays' are a must-have

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If you've used a smart speaker, you've experienced those times when it rattles off a response but you don't hear all of the details.

Google's software is a work in progress-devices using it won't ship until later this year-but it gave me the impression that the company is ready to take on touchscreen devices powered by Amazon's Alexa assistant, such as the Echo Show and Echo Spot. When it comes to the most eye-catching TVs, though, Samsung clearly stole the show with its massive TV concept called appropriately, The Wall, which is a huge 146-inch display built with microLED technology that can literally cover an entire wall, which Samsung also boasts is modular, allowing consumers to essentially build the flawless TV with a number of display modules that fit together to make the ideal size for each individual. For electronic makers, it's just the way the game is played.

It's available in two screen sizes - 8-inch and 10-inch, respectively - which helpfully double up as digital photo frames when not in use, scrolling through pictures of your choosing. It also has video call capabilities for a hands-free chat. These Smart Displays would be manufactured by different partners like LG, Lenovo and Sony. New players are still entering the marketing, and it's hard to say which system will be the most useful. There are no apps to download; everything is right on the screen. Google's latest Android Things-based OS for these displays runs the Google Assistant with a new custom interface (which is gorgeous). But once you introduce the concept of going back, you're dealing with a more complicated hierarchy of menus, and asking users to keep track of where they are as they move between tasks.

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But as we've seen at CES, manufacturers think the market is hungry for more smart stuff. "You want learning a recipe to be really short and simple". Instead of having your calendar read to you, you can see it. No matter what you want, there's a good chance Google Assistant - and the Lenovo Smart Display - can help you out. It's getting easier than ever to control every mundane appliance and task around you with the voice assistant of your choice - but an ever-smarter home still comes with compromises.

Lee Munson, a security researcher at Comparitech, a computer testing publication, told GearBrain: "On the face of it, smart speakers sound like a great idea which add functionality [to the home].[but] that's not to say they are all that great at keeping mum about what's said to them".

Both Smart Displays will be available starting this summer.

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